Palma is still in the process of waking up when we get to the Plaça Bisbe Berenguer Palou, just off the busy Avenida d’Alemanya and colloquially known as Plaza de los Patines, a long-time skater’s favourite.
We have come here on this rather grey Tuesday morning to check out the ecological farmers’ market, where approximately 15 stands are offering organic fruit and vegetables, bread and pastry, wine, olive oil, cheese, meat products, and more. Our curiosity was aroused when we heard that this market, back in 2010, was the first ecological market regularly established by a consumer organization called “Lligams” in a capital city of Spanish province.
As, so far, only a few early birds are browsing the colourfully arranged local and seasonal goods spread out on traditional Mallorcan fabrics, we get a chance to chat with some of the vendors. There´s Peio Zalba who grew up with the aromas of his grandfather’s freshly baked bread in Pamplona, but sailed the oceans for 25 years before opening the first ecologically certified bakery in Palma – PaneNostro. “It´s my small contribution to a healthier, more sustainable, and happier world,” he says smiling.
Opposite we find a Parisian who ran an art gallery in New York before moving to Mallorca 12 years ago. Alexandre has been selling on the market for six years, plants seedlings in Ses Salines, and likes to produce socially critical documentaries in his free time. His stand neighbour Rebecca teaches English and sells her vegetables as part of the cooperative “Aixo es vida”, while Pep Cirer and his wife Antonia started their self-sufficient Finca Marjal Son Fornés seven years ago. “A farmer’s life is hard,” he tells us, “and very time consuming, especially when it´s ecological. But we believe in what we do and we have loyal clients.”
“You have to promote change,” confirms the well-known baker Albert from Porto Cristo; David from Albacete, who sells fruit and veggies with Eddie from Brazil, on one of the biggest stands on this market as well as three others on the island, says: “You have to be passionate about it, it´s a lot of work but we like it.”
We lose track of the nationalities represented on this small square, especially now that the sun has also awoken, the market is filling up, and the international chatter of the customers also proves that the clientele here is a mix of foreigners and locals of all ages. A clientele that wants to avoid nourishment contaminated with pesticides and wants to promote small local businesses that try to work in an ethically correct way. The aim of this market – which is supported by the local city council, Association of Ecological Production of Majorca (Apaema) and the association of local varieties – is to offer organic, local, and seasonal products at a fair price (for many the main ‘but’ when it comes to the purchase of these goods); this is possible thanks to selling direct without intermediaries.
In 2016 a survey narrowed down a top-ten-list of food industry trends to three major areas of emphasis: clean and healthy eating, ethnic food and artisanal locally produced food, along with a trend towards safety and sustainability–both in terms of agricultural production and throughout the supply chain. This varied crowd of people on Plaza de los Patines in Palma this morning – both suppliers as well as consumers – supports all three. And the trend is spreading, with organic stores like Loveat and supermarket chains like Veritas popping up in Palma and elsewhere on the island, stalls with organic merchandise on other markets, government initiatives like Venta Directa, and restaurants basing their cuisine on eco-products.
We are what we eat and Mallorca is aware of this.
Open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 08:00-14:00.
Markets in Mallorca
More about Eco Mallorca
In recent years, bio, eco and organic have become watchwords for an increasingly environmentally-aware Mallorca: Our detailed guide to all things ECO. […] Eco-Mallorca